Vedan wants to re­turn to the ba­sics

Post - - NEWS - CHANELLE LUTCHMAN

WITH about six months left be­fore South Africans take to the polls for the gen­eral elec­tions, eThek­wini’s youngest coun­cil­lor aims to “re­turn to the ba­sics”.

This in­cludes en­sur­ing ser­vices like grass cut­ting and road main­te­nance are done reg­u­larly, said 26-year-old hu­man rights lawyer Previn Vedan of Shall­cross.

The Chatsworth Ward 71 coun­cil­lor said he planned to build re­la­tions be­tween the largely In­dian and black com­mu­ni­ties in the ward, which com­prised Bot­tle­brush, Shall­cross and Moor­ton.

Last week, the ANC card car­ry­ing mem­ber won the party’s first seat for Ward 71 dur­ing a by-elec­tion; de­feat­ing the DA’s Fa­tima Is­mail by 469 votes.

He said this showed “the change in tide and the con­fi­dence res­i­dents had in the ANC and me”.

While he may be a new kid on the po­lit­i­cal block, Vedan has de­vel­oped a thick skin, say­ing that while some have crit­i­cised him for be­ing “too young”, he was up for the chal­lenges along the way.

“When peo­ple ques­tioned my age and the role I wanted to take on, I un­der­stood their con­cerns. But I am up for the task.”

Vedan, who will be sworn in as a coun­cil­lor next week, said im­prov­ing so­cial co­he­sion, fo­cus­ing on un­em­ploy­ment and en­sur­ing ba­sic ser­vices are de­liv­ered were also his pri­or­i­ties.

“I want to as­sist the el­derly, who have is­sues ac­cess­ing their so­cial grants, and ten­ants, who have prob­lems with their body cor­po­rates. I am also fo­cused on build­ing re­la­tions in the ward.

“Dur­ing my three-week cam­paign trail in Bot­tle­brush, I re­alised that those liv­ing in the in­for­mal set­tle­ment felt threat­ened by the res­i­dents and vice-versa. I plan to take peo­ple from each res­i­den­tial area into the set­tle­ment and take peo­ple from the set­tle­ment to the dif­fer­ent ar­eas to build ca­ma­raderie.”

While Vedan has been an ANC mem­ber since 2014, he said he was hes­i­tant when se­nior mem­bers of the party ap­proached him to stand for the elec­tion.

“I only handed in my ap­pli­ca­tion a few min­utes be­fore the regis­tra­tion closed.”

He was fur­ther prompted to reg­is­ter af­ter his mother, Mo­gie, con­tem­plated re­lo­cat­ing due to the crime in the ward.

“I was sad­dened by this. I thought I needed to do some­thing to res­tore the com­mu­nity.”

He joked that dur­ing the door to door cam­paigns, former eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity speaker, Lo­gie Naidoo, ac­com­pa­nied him as an ice-breaker.

“Peo­ple love Lo­gie and they would re­quest self­ies be­fore we in­tro­duced our cam­paign.”

His in­ter­est in pol­i­tics, he said, was sparked by his fa­ther, Jer­ald, an at­tor­ney and former coun­cil­lor for the In­ner-West City Coun­cil.

“At six, I would at­tend meet­ings with him and quickly got a sense of the is­sues peo­ple were faced with. I saw how hands on he was when as­sist­ing peo­ple and I as­pired to be like him”

PIC­TURE: ZANELE ZULU AFRICA NEWS AGENCY ANA

Previn Vedan with his dad, Jer­ald.

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